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Recovery time for sports injuries

Did you know that almost 1.5 million people end up in the A&E departments in the UK due to sports injuries? More than this, an average of 8.6 million sports related injuries happen each year. Sports injuries are very common and varied. The recovery time for most sports injuries can span from a few days to a few weeks. And of course, in more severe cases, the recovery time can go on for months on end. But if you’d like to know how long it will take you to recover from a sprain or a fracture, read on.

How long does it take to recover from a bone fracture?

Despite the fact that the majority of sports injuries are simply superficial or caused by low-grade strains and sprains, around 20% of such injuries are the results of bone fractures or a more serious sports injury.

Bone fractures typically occur in contact sports. So if you are a football player or simply playing as a hobby, you may have gotten a bone fracture before. Most bone fractures are located in the lower extremities. Bone fractures can also be found in the arms, ribs, neck or shoulder blade.

  • Depending on your age and general health, a simple fracture will heal in about 6 weeks.
  • Neck fractures can take up to 6 weeks to heal. You may have to use a neck brace or a halo device.
  • Rib fractures can take up to 6 weeks to heal. You will have to practice breathing exercises and take painkillers.
  • Clavicle fractures/collarbone fractures can even take up to 10 weeks to completely heal. This will require the mobilisation of the shoulder and the upper arm.
  • Toe and finger fractures may take from 3 to 5 weeks to heal completely.

How long does it take to recover from sprains and strains?

Data shows that sprains and strains make up a little over 40% of sports injuries. A sprain can be defined as a stretch or tear of the ligaments. The ligaments are tissue that connects two bones together in a joint. On the other hand, a sprain in the joint means the overstretching or tearing of muscles or tendons.

  • A sprained ankle can heal in as little as 5 days. This depends on whether or not there are more complications. In the case of other sports injuries such as torn or ruptured tendons, the recovery time can go up to 6 weeks.
  • Neck strains can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to 6 weeks for a full recovery.
  • Calf strains may heal in just 3 weeks. In the case of a more severe sports injury, such as a grade 3 strain, classified as severe, the recovery time can go to 3 months or even more.

What can you do when you get a sports injury & how long is the recovery?

The recovery time for sports injuries varies from injury to injury, depending on the type, location and gravity of the sports injury. Healing from sports injuries takes time, depending on the extent of the skin, tendon, joint, muscle damage, etc. Bone fractures can take a longer time to recover compared to sprains and strains. For example, a complete rupture of tendons or muscles may even take months to heal.

Here are some examples of common sports injuries, what you can do to heal from and how long it usually takes to recover from these sports injuries.

  • An ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury treatment involves a few weeks of rehabilitation. Depending on the severity of the sports injury you have sustained in the ACL, you may have to undergo surgery as well.
  • Tennis elbow injuries are a bit tricky. Usually if you get such a sports injury, the injured area will just get better on its own, but it may take between 3 to 12 months for it to heal effectively. It’s essential that during this time you rest in order to allow your muscles to heal.
  • Ankle sprains are very common sports injuries. These can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to heal. It’s important that when you get an ankle sprain, you apply the PRICE method, which entails protecting, resting, icing, compressing and elevating.
  • Shin splints are often caused by over-training or even due to the type of practice surface. Shin splints can simply heal within a few days if you rest and limit your daily activities. It’s important to note that such a sports injury can linger if for any reason it’s not recognised early and the correct treatment applied.
  • Mild contusions or bruises are caused by blows to the skin. This causes the blood vessels to break. Such sports injuries can take around 5 to 7 days to heal.

With a vast majority of sports injuries, it’s necessary to know that they can be avoided! With proper stretching techniques before each practice, not overusing the body and living a healthy lifestyle, no matter if you are a professional sports player or just playing for fun.

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